Title: Resident Evil 2 (2019) Platform: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Strong Language
Score: 10 out of 10
I can hear them all around me as I run through the dark, claustrophobic and blood-spattered hallways of the Raccoon City police station — the groans and cries of once-human zombies shuffling toward me, the slithering, skittering sound of mutated dogs that can crawl across the ceiling, and the heavy, thumping footsteps of an unkillable Tyrant-class mutant relentlessly stalking me from behind. I check my gun.
Only two bullets remain, not enough to put down a single enemy.
There’s no way out, and the only way is forward, so I keep running deeper into the labyrinth, hoping to find some more ammo and put distance between me and the unstoppable juggernaut behind me.
This is Resident Evil 2 as it was meant to be played.
Originally released by Capcom for the PlayStation in 1998, this remake brings back the same heart-pounding storyline from the original, but with modern-day graphics, music and sound design. You’ll play as either rookie cop Leon Kennedy or college student Claire Redfield as they try to escape from Raccoon City during a zombie apocalypse.
The game was remade using the same game engine as Resident Evil 7, the latest entry in the series, and sold a respectable 3 million copies in its first week.
Leon and Claire have sought refuge in a museum-turned-police-station, but the situation inside is just as awful as outside. As players navigate the twisting hallways and many rooms, they’ll uncover secrets — such as the role biotech firm Umbrella Corp. played in this apocalypse, and the realization that sometimes the worst monsters are other people.
Throughout the game, you’ll be endlessly hunted by Mr. X, a 7-foot-tall Tyrant-class mutant doing his best Michael Myers impression, and who makes an entrance by smashing through a wall and
squishing a journalist’s head like an overripe tomato.
The first play through of the game isn’t terribly long — just 10 or so hours. However, the game has alternate endings that require multiple play throughs.
The “true ending” requires beating the game with Leon and Claire. Once the game has been beaten the first time, select the other character and choose the 2nd Run option from the main menu. This mode will open an alternate story set in the same timeframe as the first play through.
In the 2nd Run mode, although it uses the same set, you’ll navigate the police station through a different entrance and find some doors that were unlocked by the other character in the first play through. There are also differences in where items and enemies are, and you’ll encounter new enemy types and have to solve puzzles that have different solutions than in the first play through.
There’s also an incentive, as in past Resident Evil games, to go on replaying the game. Each section of the game is timed, and clearing it faster gives you a higher rank, unlocking permanent bonuses such as weapons with unlimited ammo.
There are three difficulty modes — Assisted, Normal and Hardcore. Assisted mode has an auto-aim function; characters regain some health automatically; and enemies are a little weaker. In Hardcore mode, there is no automatic saving; enemies are much tougher to kill, and players have to collect and use a finite number of typewriter ribbons to save their progress.
Capcom is also releasing a free downloadable update to the game this month titled The Ghost Survivors, which will play through the stories of three minor characters that didn’t make it out alive during the events of Resident Evil 2.
The first Resident Evil 2 is considered a horror classic, and in creating this remake, Capcom wisely decided not to monkey around with a winning formula. The controls and cameras are different (the original didn’t have the overthe-shoulder, third-player view), which makes it easier to aim and to hit enemies, but to make up for that, enemies are tougher to kill.
Regular zombies take three bullets to the head. Lickers, the mutated, wall-crawling dogs with 10-foot, prehensile tongues that are the bane of my existence, take four or five shotgun rounds to put down.
In a game that features an almost small amount of ammunition (especially in the early stages), every combat encounter comes with risk. Every bullet comes with the question, “Do I need to use this here, or should I just try to run past the zombie instead?”
Along with the hugely updated graphics, Resident Evil 2 features excellent sound design, with creaking doors, thunder, dripping blood and undead moans giving every moment just the right amount of tension and suspense.
Resident Evil 2 is a treat for veterans of the original and those who haven’t yet gotten a chance to experience the best of the franchise’s creepy, atmospheric thrillers.